Lakeshore Chinooks Use Big 8th Inning to Win Opener
Battle Creek, MI - After taking home the Northwoods League title in 2014, the Lakeshore Chinooks opened their 2015 season on Tuesday with big aspirations. Traveling to Battle Creek to take on the Bombers, the Chinooks got their season started off on a good note, winning the game by a score of 4-2.
Pitching was the theme of this one in the early going. The Chinooks struggled to get anything off of Bombers starter Alex Hermeling (Louisiana-Monroe), who fired 6.1 innings of shutout ball.
The team did have a couple of chances against him, including in the fourth inning, when first baseman Lucas Raley (Lake Erie College) led the inning off with a single. However, a great diving catch by Bombers right fielder Trek Stemp (Washington State), who then doubled off Raley at first, ended any hopes for the inning.
Chinooks starter Gavin Downs (Purdue) also pitched brilliantly, throwing 6.0 innings and scattering five hits while allowing just one run. He even managed to retire nine batters in a row from the second inning through fourth inning. The lone black spot of his outing came in the fifth inning, when Bombers DH Tyler Walsh (Belmont) led off the inning with a double and later scored on a Spencer Hemphill (Louisiana-Monroe) sacrifice fly.
The Chinooks finally broke up the pitching duel in the eighth with a big four-run inning. Scrappy left fielder Jake Romano (Miami-Ohio) got things started by hustling out an infield single, stealing second and advancing to third on a passed ball. A Rich Rodriguez (Cincinnati) single drove him in, but the club was hardly done there. Rodriguez later scored on a base knock by right fielder Joe Stoll (Ohio State), and the Chinooks proceeded to load the bases. Greg Deichmann (Louisiana State) then came through in the clutch with a two-RBI double.
The Bombers came back to threaten in the bottom half of the inning, plating a run off of Chinooks reliever Adam Heidenfelder (Hofstra), who threw 1.2 innings. However, despite loading the bases with two outs, the Bombers were unable to get more than that single run after the Chinooks brought on southpaw Jake Tuttle (UW-Milwaukee) to get the final out of the inning.
Once again the Bombers put pressure on the Chinooks in the 9th, quickly getting two runners on base against Tuttle to start the inning. He managed to retire the next two hitters before allowing a walk to load the bases, and he ultimately was able to escape the jam to earn his first save of the season.
The Chinooks managed seven hits on the night, and it was a team effort, with only center fielder Drake Parker (Vanderbilt) putting together a multi-hit game. Deichmann was also a key contributor, leading the way with two RBI's and a walk and showing off some great defense at shortstop to support his pitchers.
The Chinooks will look to take the two-game series from the Bombers as the teams face off again on Wednesday at 11:05 a.m. After that, the team will return to Kapco Park for their home opener on Thursday at 6:05 p.m.
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